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Layered salad recipe at

How to Make a 5-Minute Layered Salad To-Go in a Jar

I know it sounds crazy that any airline meal {meal? what meal?} could inspire not just a recipe but a whole new lease on lunch.

But so it was on my Jet Blue flight back to the west when I ordered a layered salad. Actually, I don’t know what they called it on the menu.

I have now institutionalized it in my own life as the layered salad–to go.

This one came in a clear jar with a lid. There was brown rice on the bottom harboring the balsamic dressing, a middle layer of greens and a topping of chopped tomato. A tiny container held a tablespoon of feta cheese.

I tipped in the feta, stirred up the dressing and grains from the bottom to blend with the lettuce. And then I ate it from top to bottom, enjoying every bite.

For real.

With my hunger gone, I looked at the empty jar and thought: Eureka!

Layered Salad How To

It’s not a recipe but a method, a formula for shaking up to-go lunch, school lunch or any other meal on the road.

Layered salad, all in a single jar. I used a wide-mouth pint jar, but for a large salad use a wide-mouth quart jar.

Not soggy, not bland, not boring.

Tasty, fresh, crunchy and satisfying. And so many possibilities.

Layered salad recipe at

Here are the building blocks:

Layer 1: Any cooked grain of your choosing, from barley to couscous to quinoa, ideally leftover. In a pinch, soak bulgur instead {see recipe note}.

Add dressing. We keep a bottle of all-purpose balsamic dressing {2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar} in the cupboard.

Layer 2: Fresh greens, such as salad mix, baby spinach or other salad greens well packed. These locally grown Asian salad greens are as tasty as they are hearty.

Layer 3: Chopped fresh vegetables, such as cucumber, tomato, carrot, avocado or broccoli or cauliflower florets. Dig through that veggie bin!

Layer 4: Cheese, crumbled, cubed or grated or substitute beans, such as chickpeas or white beans for a vegan version.

Layer 5: Seeds or nuts, toasted for best flavor, salted or unsalted. What’s a salad without seeds?

Seriously, who needs to buy those pre-mixed salad bowls when you can quickly assemble your own?

Let’s fly!


and become a forager

What good meals are you packing to go? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

Layered salad recipe at

Layered Salad in a Jar

Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Author: Lynne Curry

This recipe offers a basic formula for making a single to-go layered salad. You can vary it based on the grains, greens, cheese and dressing you have on hand so that no two layered salads are alike. I've found this to be a great participatory kid's school lunch.


  • 1/3 cup bulgur or other cooked grains
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. Scoop the bulgur into the bottom of a clean pint jar. Drizzle in the balsamic vinaigrette. Pack in the salad greens, top with the tomato, feta and seeds. Secure the lid.

  2. Before eating, stir the salad from the bottom to blend well.

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